It's not that difficult to sell sunshine, beautiful beaches, plush accommodation, good food, smiling faces or great golf. Location doesn't hurt either. All of these elements combine to make Thailand perhaps the most intoxicating and inviting destination for Hong Kong residents. Local money has become so prevalent in Phuket that it may well be the main catalyst in driving the property market higher and higher. The kingdom has also become a particularly receptive sporting playground. So when news of a bloodless military coup that ousted billionaire Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra broke, the first reaction from many was, 'Let's get it together, huh?' There was genuine concern about tee times in Pattaya this weekend and access to the villa in Phuket. Bigger issues, like installing a functional government and recriminations from Thaksin loyalists, as well as the unnerving sight of tanks in the streets and armed militia lurking about, were domestic concerns that would eventually be sorted out. It was, according to sources in Bangkok, business as usual. Well, yes, to some degree. In a country where there have been nine military coups from 1971 to 1991, this would seem to be business as usual. But the past 15 years have seen not only the implementation of democratic reforms and a new constitution, but zero coups as well. Over that time, the Thai economy exploded thanks to a massive, and largely misguided, influx of foreign capital, which helped spawn a burgeoning middle class who saw things like golf and sailing as an affirmation of their affluence. Top-end golf courses started sprouting up all over the country and hackers from Hong Kong were more than grateful to get a round in at a reasonable price. Of course, the economic boom turned out to be nothing more than a house of cards. Very few market fundamentals were adhered to and in 1997 the economy imploded into a million little pieces. But all those golf courses were still in place, which meant cash-flush Hongkongers were even more welcome now because there were very few domestically who could afford to play any more. Thailand is vastly different now than the backwater it was 15 years ago. In the new Thailand, military coups, bloodless or otherwise, are not exactly business as usual. The new Thailand annually welcomes the world to a number of top-notch sporting events, like yachting's Kings Cup Regatta in Phuket as well a couple of high-end tennis tournaments. Imagine running an ATP tennis event in Bangkok, with a world-class field, and five days before it is about to begin a military coup takes place and martial law is imposed. You and I, we live in Hong Kong and have been to Thailand numerous times. We are regional sophisticates, so it might not alarm us much because, well, the airport is still open. But most of the planet may not get it. Orderly coup or not, there are still tanks in the streets and for the majority of the world that is the first thing they see when they turn on the TV. You can hardly excuse the world for thinking Thailand is not a safe place to visit right now and it can't be a particularly desirable place for young tennis millionaires either. 'Naturally, we were worried and have received a number of calls from the ATP, as well as players and their agents about the situation,' said Stuart McDonald, tournament manager of the Thailand Open which begins tomorrow. 'But things seem fine now and it has blown over fairly quickly. We have a very deep field and so far no players have pulled out.' McDonald also admitted TV footage of players such as Lleyton Hewitt, Marat Safin, Tim Henman, James Blake and Andy Murray slugging it out on the courts of Bangkok would send a strong message to the rest of the world that it is business as usual in Thailand. Perhaps, and if there is any country that can host a military coup on Tuesday and a world-class tennis tournament a week later, it would probably be Thailand. Because of its reverence for the monarchy and the fact that this largely agrarian county has always had enough food to feed its people, Thailand has never descended into the civil strife and anarchy that places like Indonesia have. Still, there is no government in place, only a bunch of military lifers, and next week the much delayed US$4 billion Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok will be opened - without a transport minister. If this isn't a recipe for chaos, I don't know what is. Then again, that would be business as usual in Hong Kong's favourite playground.